It's midmorning on a sweltering summer day and the kids are up and getting antsy.
Starting Wednesday, parents can pile their brood into the car for a cool, quiet and free amusement, sponsored by Loews Cineplex Entertainment.
Every Wednesday through Aug. 17 at 11 a.m., the Loews Valley Center 9 Theater at 9616 Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills will host the Loews Free Kids Film Series.
"We felt the Kids Film Series is a great way to develop goodwill and a nice way for us to give back something for [customers'] patronage during the year," said John McCauley, senior vice president of marketing for Loews Cineplex Entertainment.
McCauley said the company's research and comments from parents and youth-group leaders showed that 11 a.m. was the best time for the films.
"They can start the day a little earlier," McCauley said.
The theater opens for normal business at 12:30 p.m.
Featuring recent popular animation films, such as Shrek, Ice Age, Clifford's Really Big Movie and Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie, the theater will not charge admission for children under 12 and their chaperones. The concession stand will offer a discounted children's combo of a small popcorn and soda for $4.25, a 75 cent reduction.
With a different movie each Wednesday, the festival begins with Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie, followed by Shrek, Shrek 2, Shark Tale, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Ice Age and Clifford's Really Big Movie. The festival concludes on Aug. 17 with Robots.
"Although [kids] may have seen them at home on video or DVD, we think there's nothing like seeing them on the big screen -- the way they're meant to be seen -- especially in a really kid-friendly environment," McCauley said.
The theater plans to open as many of its nine screens for each showing as needed to accommodate all viewers. Each auditorium seats 200 to 400. McCauley said he anticipates the festival will attract as many as 4,000 kids.
Clifford's Really Big Movie runs for 73 minutes. Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie, runs for 82 minutes. Both are rated G. Shrek, Shark Tale, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Shrek 2, Ice Age and Robots are all rated PG and run for approximately 90 minutes each.
The Free Kids Film Series runs Wednesdays through Aug. 17, at 11 a.m. at Loews Valley Center 9 Theater, 9616 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills. Free admission for children 12 and under and their chaperones. For more information, visit www.enjoytheshow.com. Reservations for free group, individual and family tickets are available by calling 410-363-8781.
For more family events, see Page 37.